Reopening the chapter of Fundamental Duties in India

fundamental duties in India

The exercising power of right is based on two folded idea. The privilege of right can be achieved only by the legal obligation such as to perform the duty to protect the right of oneself and also the right of another. The right and duty of one is to be in balance. The right without duty will be considered as an outlandish claim. Such is always regulated by the constitutional power or the monarchical power which exists in respective nature of each country. The rightful balance of right and fundamental duties in India will be prognosticative in nature whereas the lack in such balance will be insinuative in nature.

In regulating and recognizing such rights and duties in India, the constitutional powers are considered to be the titular sovereign of the nation-state as the Constitution of India enumerated in 1950 is considered to be the Supreme Guardian of the Indian soil. The concept of the fundamental duties was taken from the Constitution of the USSR. The fundamental duties of the people are considered to be responsible citizenship. The concept of fundamental duties was first recommended by the Swaran Singh Committee which was created during the period of Indhira Gandhi to study and amend the Indian Constitution. The Committee laid down some important basic principles to be followed but were not included in the Constitution:

  • Parliament should impose penalty or punishment in case of non-compliance of duties
  • If punishment is imposed according to the above clause, it cannot be called in question in any court on any ground
  • Duty to pay taxes to be incorporated as fundamental duties in India

The fundamental duties were inserted in the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976. By such amendment, Part IV A and Article 51A was added in the Constitution. Originally ten fundamental duties were listed. Later on, by virtue of the 86th Constitution, the Amendment in the year 2002, 11th duty was added.  The fundamental duties inserted in the Indian Constitution were non-justifiable in nature i.e. the compulsion of performing such duties cannot be enforced. It is considered to be a moral duty of every Indian Citizen.

51A. Fundamental duties.—It shall be the duty of every citizen of India—

(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;

(b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

(c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

(d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

(g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures;

(h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

(i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

(j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavor and achievement;

(k) who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.

The main purpose of inserting the fundamental duties was to support the fundamental right which has their respective legal obligation inbuilt to perform. The concept was taken from the USSR but the ideas that were formed through the Indian way of codification of life. The main reason why such a delay in enacting the provision was due to the visionary aspect of the founding fathers of such a Constitution. While writing the Constitution after independence the inventors of that Supreme Law believed in the people of Independent India as they would create and maintain a balance between in right and duty to themselves and to others as an individual and also to the nation as a Citizen.

The residue of their belief was left as a spark in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution where the fraternity and equality will be safeguarded only if the legal obligations have to be performed then and there in respective situations. The enactment of the fundamental duties in India was in line with Article 29(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These are to be protected.

The chapter on Fundamental Rights in the Constitution itself recognizes the essence of duties. One pertains to freedom of speech but Clause 2 to 6 of Article 19 permits reasonable restrictions on the exercise of such rights in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, and in the security of the state, public order, decency, and morality. This implies that while exercising one’s rights must remember one’s duties towards these constitutional concepts. Fundamental duties should be naturally protected, even in the case of a lockdown.

It is the citizens’ responsibility to follow the legal and constitutional obligations and discharge their functions in accordance with those obligations because due to that obligation individually a person can contribute to the democratic growth of the country. Every citizen is needed to follow the individual obligation and for their nonperformance over it, no necessary legal action can be taken. Similarly, if the legal obligation of an individual is being violated necessary action can be taken and such person will be liable under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act 1971

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